Life Lessons from the Physical World

Sunday, July 31, 2005

One Dead Woodchuck

This is Medea. She's been my best friend for over 12 years, since I rescued her from the local shelter when she was little enough to fit in my two hands.

When we lived in the suburbs outside Philadelphia she enjoyed our small backyard. It was up on a hill and she could walk among small shrubs and around tree trunks and feel like the queen of all she surveyed. She's one of those rare dominant female dogs that lift their legs to pee and mark territory.

I have a thousand stories about Medea and our adventures together. This one involves a strange furry intruder into Medea's backyard domain. I was inside the house on a sunny afternoon, and she was outside. Suddenly I heard her barking wildly, something unusual had gotten her back up. I took a look and saw she was focused on the top of a fencepost in the far corner of the yard, but I couldn't see what had raised her hackles. I stepped out and walked over, and noticed that a very sick-looking groundhog was perched on top of the fence. There was definitely something wrong with this creature, it was missing most of its hair, it was baring its teeth and literally hissing down at the dog. As I watched, the thing pounced onto Medea and the two of them began rolling around on the ground, a screeching, roaring tangle of fur. I was close enough to feel blood drops land on my bare legs, and as I stood screaming for help, screaming at my damned dog, trying to grab her and get her away, I realized I had to do something more drastic.

I went to the woodpile, picked up a slender but heavy log, and started hitting the 'chuck, though it was tough to be sure where my blows would land. My dog was relentless, and both animals had blood on them. Finally, I connected with 'chuck skull, felt it crack, and the thing lay still.

I grabbed Medea by the collar and rushed her to the vet. They checked her over for wounds, saw nothing serious, and gave her a rabies booster shot; she'd recently had all her normal inoculations. The vet reminded me about the blood on my own legs, and I checked around to make sure I hadn't been bitten, which I hadn't. I was pretty shaken, but my dog and I were lucky and fine.

Back home, I examined the stiffening animal in my yard, flat on its back, its legs up in the air. I poked it with a stick, marveled at the damage I'd done to its brains. I called local animal control and asked if they wanted to collect the thing, test it for rabies or something. The guy was amazed I had killed it myself, and asked if I wanted a job over there. Then he just told me to put that ol' dead 'chuck out with the trash.


Blogger Fuzzie said...

And I thought Medea was the name of a band!

Here she is a pasture poodle predator...she can hunt with me any day.

11:38 AM, August 01, 2005  
Blogger Nature Girl said...

I know she would love that...

9:53 AM, August 03, 2005  

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